Friday, 29 June 2018

Blue badge blues 3


Two weeks post op now and I’m hoping I’m reasonably alert enough to write. In the last few days I’ve finally moved from intensive care, then high dependency and eventually to a ward more focussed on rehabilitation. Each stage has brought a different experience. But the ITU was most impactful. 
I’ve recovered from surgery before when I’ve felt befuddled, sore, sick, glad it’s over; that very strange and messy mix of pain and relief with a little WTF added in! 
This experience was very different. On a ventilator, unable to speak, recognising people but communication impossible and a world of bleeps and alarms starts to create a context of noise, lights, tension but even so does not describe the fear i felt. 












The drug cocktail during and post the op stimulated my brain and I was aware of trying to make sense of my environment. But this particular potpourri stimulates a strange interconnection of stories. The most reassuring part of the time there was seeing family who did ground me in my voiceless reality. Some of the stories I had created , lived on for me and so once i moved to in high dependency I checked out a couple of the scenarios  with family for any link to reality. There were none! We laughed as I shared them but the disquiet remained for me. A bit like that feeling after a nightmare, when you know it wasn’t real but you still can’t shake it off.  I had had the debrief post op from the surgeon but a cocktail of pain killers and who knows what else meant it had scrambled in my understanding. 
Couldn’t fully remove bony growth, lost a lot of blood, detached it from cord, nerves fully active; the parapluie of phrases I’m still making sense of and trying to forget too if 
I’m honest!  Move your feet for me? Let’s try with this walker, with your stick, hows the pain, can you feel this here? Life’s parameters describing the here and now and setting the future goals. And I’m told I’m doing really well. In this environment, seeing so many struggling with so much more than me, I’m so deeply grateful for that. 

But now it’s afternoon nap time; important work so I will check back in later. 

4 comments:

  1. Audrey, it's so wonderful to hear from you again and to learn that you are on the road to recovery. Sending you much love xxxx

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    1. Thank you Marie, it’s all very trying but I hope I’m moving forward. Thanks for thinking of me. Xx

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  2. Audrey, I'm so glad you are recovering. I've been in ICU after my bilateral mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction, and it was terrifying. Thank you for sharing, and I'm wishing you get better each day.

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  3. I'm *so* glad you're recovering Audrey; when last we spoke at an Alliance workshop you'd mentioned that you were waiting for this surgery. It can be a terrifying thing to undergo something like this, and I'm sure all of us readers appreciate your honesty in sharing your experiences. I sincerely hope that your recovery continues and improves, and I wish you all the very best in what will be a difficult journey back to function. Don't let that put you off though, it's worth the effort ;-)

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